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[My personal web site]

LAST MODIFIED: 3/16/2014




Beginners Sailing with Experienced Skippers

Big Picture for Beginners

Thoughts on Regatta Start Matrix

including the following:

1. R/C list of channels and frequencies

2. U.S Navy Signal Flags

3. U.S. Navy Pennants

4. Three part article on maneuvering
of single and twin screw ships

CLICK HERE for clear and simple
basic information on the difference between radios and how and why they are different.

CLICK HERE Article on dealing with random sail heat assignments
CLICK HERE Article on the Big Picture for Beginners in hobby
CLICK HERE for Article on What to do with a scale boat once built


Point of View
on making Protest workable
rather than obnoxious.

Pictures of WVRCM Fleet of Boats.

Pictures of Schooners
from 2005 Mesa Regatta and others.

Need a measurement conversion program?
This download is free... small like the windows calculator and great for any measurement you can think of!

Not necessarily! Clear & comprehensive

Model boat clubs in Phoenix:

Here is a list of model boat clubs in Phoenix:

Scottsdale, Arizona

The Seawind Resource Center for information on the Kyosho Seawind.
For information on Seawind Class in the American model yacht association pages. WHERE TO FIND STUFF:
[found a good one....let me know...
I will add it to the list


Among the largest mail order hobby resources.
Depending on what you want,
if you can deal with Ebay
sometimes that is a workable alternative!
Hobby Lobby is also a very good place to shop
for boats and accessories; particularly electric motor data.
They also are the place to go to order stuff from the HUGE GERMAN GRAUPNER COMPANY. Lang is a committed SeaWind Supplier who will also
be carrying the Graupner Micro-Magic kits. CLICK HERE TO GO TO HIS WEB SITE

As of November 2010 "overstocked seawinds on sale for $254.

For an extensive collection of old sailing ship kits
and extensive fittings

If you are looking for servos, or neat stuff
consider checking this site.
some very good prices!

1st Page is an extraordinary free program to create and view your own web site off line and all the resource info including html code explainations:

HTML Editor



Located one block north of the "T" intersection traffic light
Note: Scale events are usually held at this end. Sail events at the east end


If this is your first visit to my personal site, WELCOME

You are vistor #

To everyone..... thank you for visiting my web site

Webmaster: Rowland Stevens. email: (623) 877-2750

As I am no longer the Commodore of the r/c boat club WEST VALLEY R/C MARINERS; (A link to the club's web site is in the left index. So, I have converted this site of mine back to my personal boat site, where I can report on that R/C stuff which interest me.
However, Chuck is no longer the Scale Director for the Club, as of October 2012, so I have agreed to fill in for a while! And will try to keep this site current on the Scale doings of the Club.

SATURDAY APRIL12 TH 2013 ... 10:00AM -2pm


PLEASE CONSIDER JOINING US! As most of you know; we received word in February that Litchfield Park would be draining the Litchfield LakeWe were considering having it a Estrella Mountain Ranch Lake, a bit south west of Goodyear-Litchfield Park. However, I had a discussion with Sonny, the Recreation Director for Litchfield Park. They now anticipate that draining the Lake will be about April 29th.

At the February meeting of the club in Sun City (thinking the lake would be draining then, we had a discussion of the current level of number of skippers participating in the club's formal scale events and their minimal use of the maneuvering course we have set up for many years. The Club will temporarily suspend putting out a full maneuvering course at the SPRING REGATTA to be held at 10:00 o'clock at the west end of the lake. We will have some cold water and soda available. Rather we will look forward to it being a great time when those interested in scale, can spend the morning till 1-2pm enjoying each other's company and sharing our scale projects. And use the time to get a consensus of how to proceed in the future. We will put a a few marks, for those who would like something to maneuver around.<,BR>
IF WVRCM MEMBERS ANTICPATE ATTENDING THIS EVENT.......PLEASE EMAIL ME AT...... THAT YOU PLAN ON ATTENDING THIS early as possible......and before the club's April Club Meeting date of April 5th at which time ..... depending on the response you all furnish ...... we will review having this event. No entry fee will be required.

For those that are interested, the problem with the lake is that the wall for the back yards of the houses on the lake is inexorably tipping into the Lake. Creating a problem similar to NYC's after 9/11. The rubble there and in our case the actual water ..... were in part holding the wall up. In NYC, therefore, the pace of the removal work was in part limited by going slowly and reinforcing the wall as rubble was removed. In Litchfield, the lake will have to be drained slowly and the ground given time to dry as the lake is drained. And it has to be drained completely so they can maneuver heavy construction equipment next to the wall from lakeside. And only then will they be able to formulate how extensive the work must be to permanently solve the problem.

The current shift in starting date came about when the Litchfield Park Engineers decided that rather than have the city drain the lake, in anticipation of the upcoming repairs.....that it would be better to have the contractor do it.....less the city be blamed for the way they did it ..... if further damage happens to the wall, in the process of draining. And Sonny anticipated it would be the end of April before the final contract was arrived at with a contractor to do the work.
So we will have a wonderful lake for a great day in April! See you there. Rowland

WHERE: west portion of beautiful lake in Litchfield Park. How to get there:
From west (303 or otherwise) get to Indian School Rd. & Litchfield Rd. Shopping center intersection. Head east towards Phoenix. Next traffic light is “T” intersection north. Go north two blocks. You’re there….Welcome!

From east: (101 or otherwise) get to Indian School Road and Dysart Rd west of Agua Fria River. (5 miles from 101). Head west. Continue around curved road 1 mile to same “T” Intersection as above, head north two blocks. You’re there….Welcome!

So consider getting ready to dust them off and come join us. It is a beautiful time of the year in Phoenix. And unlike sailing......there are no rules that one must follow to really have a good time sailing! If you will send me a pic of what you might bring.....I will post it here so others can anticipate what they might see on the 9th of November. Look forward to seeing you at the pond. ........ Rowland

Other stuff!

Recently a new member had bought a beautiful carbon fiber sailboat to our club meeting. But it brought to mind something, perhaps, one should consider if thinking about buying a sailboat. Sailing is obviously not about "speed". Rather, in some respects, about relative performance between two similar boats. Therefore, it may be helpful, before buying a sailboat, whether it be with our club, or another....or for that matter a model boat or a REAL check around the area where you intend to sail most.....and consider the boats that others are sailing. It is really workable to be sailing the same type of boat in some respects. For example, all tho members have a variety of boats........we primarily sail two boats: The Kyosho Seawind and the mini Mico Magic (which fits in anyone's car!). sanctioned class regattas and even then you are welcome to sail. It's just that their rules require those scored in such races , have boats certified to comply with the class rules being sailed....(and be a member of AMYA!).



Most beginning skippers to RC Sail Racing I have met are hesitant to do so, for fear of “interfering” with those that are experienced.

First, let me assure you that every experienced skipper I know….IS MORE THAN HAPPY TO HAVE YOU SAIL WITH THEM. Both on a personal level and because they have an interest in the ranks of RC Skippers expanding.

Second, we have all BEEN THERE and gone through the same learning experience You have chosen to undertake! And we all know there is only one way to learn about racing sailboats and THAT’S TO GET IN THERE AND DO IT!

Thirdly, most experienced skippers realize and respect that everyone has their own way of “learning” new things and speed of doing so. And they are very much concerned that they do not “overwhelm” you with more than you care to know, at any stage of the learning curve. So please invite them to help you, by asking questions so they have some idea of where you are at….and what you are interested in knowing. They also know, of course, that while you are learning…..there is much you wouldn’t know what to ask about! And they will volunteer information helpful to you as the two of you develop a dialog and come to know where each other is at…..not unlike undertaking any relationship.

Having said all that there are some things you can do that not only will help in a smoother integration into the racing process, but cost you nothing and in fact will help you in your learning process and reduce… the extent possible and there will be some I know…..the frustration level with your new adventure!

1. If you are unclear about the reality of the mechanics of sailing into the wind; ask someone to explain the limits on the directions you can sail into the wind. ie: toward where the wind is coming from. Basically principles of aerodynamics allow you to do so; but only at a maximum angle of about 45 degrees into the wind. That is you have to zig zag on each side of the wind direction when going up wind.

2. Ask someone to help you if you do not have a clue as to how to basically “adjust” your sails and the rigging to at least get it within the ball park of the limits that are required to get your boat to sail reasonably.

3. Understand that the wind direction is seldom constant. So, for example when you are cool and sailing at the workable 45 degree angle to the wind… will change and without you doing anything … you are sailing straight into the wind….or rather trying to do so ….which never works! This is among the BIGGEST THINGS you will only learn by hours of experience sailing. How to sense the changes in the wind AND what you then have to change and which direction you have to change it, in terms of using the rudder to change course and/or moving your sails in or out. AND AND AND….thirdly…the hardest decision of all…..when there is NOTHING MORE YOU CAN DO!!! Remember that every unnecessary movement of the rudder and/or the sail causes you to slow down.

Simple, really….That’s the only three things you can do on the water! I assure you that keeping everything within workable ball park limits… first impossible, perhaps….will fairly quickly become as automatic as keeping your car in one lane of traffic. On the other hand, one of the ongoing challenges that keep sailboat racing interesting, is at the small change level, which is the difference between first and last place, is a life time learning process.

4. Unfortunately, sailboat movement is ALL RELATIVE to what other boats can do at that same time. If, the wind stops,, both you and the best will be not moving! So while you are learning, YOU NEED OTHER SAILBOATS AROUND YOU, so you can learn when your “adjustment” are right on and you are keeping up with the “big guys” and when they are not quite what they could be.

5. Having been there…..experienced skippers know the limits of beginners, on being aware of the significance of unfolding events and/or the slowness of their ability to respond correctly to them. And since we want you to sail with us…. We expect to have to factor what you “might not do today” that later on you will do…..into what they expect. No problem. I assure you they will give you a wide berth! It is in their own interest to do so!

6. Having said that however, there are a couple of “responsibilities” you as a beginner can undertake to help. Because there are TWO CIRCUMSTANCES where it is very difficult to give a beginner all of the wide berth….you would be otherwise happy to do.

A. AT THE START. You will learn that being in the right position and the right time just prior to start IS CRITICAL TO WINNING, in the majority of cases. In the meantime, while you are learning the basics….. you will not have the knowledge and skill (particularly as relating to RC sailing….even if you are AN EXPERIENCED REAL BOAT SKIPPER!) so that you won’t be aware of “what the right position to be in” happens to be this time; much less how to maneuver you boat to get it there! SO DON’T TRY TO BE AT THE START LINE WHEN THE STARTING GUN GOES OFF.

On the other hand…..a critical part of your learning process is the skill to quickly assess changing relationships with other boats in the “starting dance” among them. And the skill to respond quickly. So we need a reasonable compromise that will cost you nothing. Why, because if you are at the start line when the start gun goes off, I assure you, that for any number of reasons you will “lose time”.

SET YOUR PERSONAL START LINE OR GOAL ABOUT 2 BOAT LENGTHS BEHIND THAT DETERMINED BY THE START MARKS. And your goal is to be at the right place at the right time a few seconds before the starting gun….ANOTHER TWO OR THREE BOAT LENGTHS BEHIND THE START LINE...... AT YOUR PERSONAL GOAL, so you cross your line at the time others cross the start line.

Do that .....and you will still have plenty of interaction opportunities with other boats for most of the prestart time. But at the moments before start you can concentrate on your timing to get to your goal….with far less interference with others to do that…..AND OF COURSE, you will not be interfering with the critical moments when experienced skippers in front of you just don’t have the physical option to give you the room you need at the start line.

And I can almost assure you that, none the less, there will be a couple boats at least that will be near you passing your goal line at the start, to practice with!

And during the process of the race, I assure you that being a few boat lengths behind at the start, far more often than not, will not be the relevant factor in where you finish, for a while! (It does take time but you will be able to do it.)

7. For a variety of reasons…..except for the first few days perhaps… will probably find there are some of the boats not to far from you during the race!

The second area where an experienced skipper has limited options in giving you the space he expects and would rather give you….is when rounding a mark.

If you find a boat is getting near you as you come to a mark, I suggest, well ahead of the mark, you place yourself so you deliberately be the boat that goes very wide around the mark…..a couple of boat lengths away from other boats….rounding at the same time.

A. I assure you everything considered it is the fastest way for you to get around the mark….as compared to what will happen if you are right along side another! And again, comparing the number of boat lengths you are likely to lose overall during a race, with the result of adding 2 or 3 boat lengths at a mark… won’t often be of much significance.

B. You will also learn in the process as you watch the boats inside you nearing the mark…..the developing circumstances in which even when you have experience in your tool chest….you will chose the wide rounding of a mark… that you finish rounding the mark AHEAD of those bunched together nearer the mark and struggling to get around it! And you might even experience that as a beginner!!!

FOR 95% OF THE RACE…..then… will present absolutely no problem for the experienced skipper who can look ahead far more comprehensively than you can and by a very minor adjustment early (which once he no longer perceives you as a beginner he won’t do and expects you to respond according to the rules) you will present NO PROBLEMO to him! And their joy in having you sail with them…..far exceeds any minor adjustment they must make.

Finally, it takes a while to learn to deal with sailing rules! Don’t worry about it.

Just start with these three:

Rule 1: Don’t hit any marks…..if you do, you have to make 360 penalty turns Which is generally how one exonerates oneself from violating any rule. We do not require that you go to a corner with a time out! Interestingly, I was watching the big AMERICA’S CUP RACES in San Francisco Bay in which the penalty for violating a rule was to slow your Boat until you were two boats links behind the boat with the right of way At which time a race official would allow you to resume racing!

Rule 2: If two of you are close to each other heading the same direction, the boat To WINDWARD……that is the one that first gets hit by the wind must steer into the wind to stay away from the Leeward boat. AND IF THAT MEANS THAT YOU ARE SAILING MORE DIRECTLY INTO THE WIND WHERE IT IS DIFFICULT TO SAIL THEN YOU MUST MAKE MORE OF THE SAME DIRECTION TURN AND TACK TO A NEW COURSE. (yes I know that means you are not heading in the direction you want to go…..BUT YOU MUST DO SO……….please don’t just keep bumping into the leeward boat!!!! Please.)

Rule 3: If you and another boat are on opposite tacks…..that is your main boom is on One side of your boat and theirs is on the other side of their boat and you are both headed for the same point at the same time……

then the boat that has their boom on the left side of their boat is said to be on STARBOARD TACK and has the RIGHT OF WAY and must hold course.... and the boat with its boom on the right side of their boat is on a PORT TACK and has the responsibility to change course….usually done by going behind the stern of the other boat.

NOTE: there is a fourth rule but if you do as I suggest you will not have to contend with it:

When approaching a mark with other boats, let’s say you are to leeward of another boat and by Rule 2 above you would have the right of way.

There is a specific “rounding the mark” rule that says: IF at the time the first boat gets To a distance of 4 BOAT LENGHTS TO THE MARK….. the trailing boat’s bow “OVERLAPS” a line perpendicular from the stern of the front boat….then the boat in front must give the inside boat sufficient room to round the mark. (As an exception to Rule 2 above which otherwise would may have required the trailing boat to go on the wrong side of the mark to avoid hitting the mark a violation of Rule 1 above….which if their bow does not overlap before 4 boat lengths is the problem they will have to content with by comply with Rule 2 )

GO FOR IT…..and I wish you the best. Rowland


See index at left